Hello friends and family
Happy Labour Weekend!
On Wednesday, Hiltrun and I candled the penguin eggs. We found an overall fertility rate of 96% which is very high. We put this down to having experienced breeders, although both of our young girls here had 2 fertile eggs.
Labour weekend marks the beginning of the tourist season and this year the penguins have even less protection than before. This time last year I was clearing the reserve of all people after the 7:30pm closing but this season all I can do is take photos of the cars still in the car park after 7:30pm to give those responsible the information about what is going on. This does not include those vehicles that arrive after 7:45 pm.
People are here from before 7 am to after 9 pm when it is dark, because no-one is enforcing the closing times. People get within 2 m of penguins even though the recommended distance is 10 m. People climb over the fences and chase the penguins. This is the largest colony of Yellow-eyed penguins and I fear for the lives of all chicks hatched on the historic reserve this season.
The biggest risk time for the chicks is the next month. I will let you know how many survive.
The south east marine protection forum has released their proposed marine reserves going forward. They have made a small nod to protecting Yellow-eyed penguins by making a reserve in front of some 10% of the remaining nest sites but have done nothing for the 22% that live here. Going forward, it will still be legal to go spear fishing in front of this colony even though I showed them photos of wounded penguins so they could see that the problem is real and penguins get injured.
Given that over 980 penguins, of the remaining 1000 Yellow-eyeds that are left in New Zealand, live in the area being considered, I expected more. I will be making yet another submission and hope that you do too. https://south-eastmarine.org.nz/YourSay/. What are we protecting the ocean for if the iconic endemic species are ignored?
The work continues. This weekend we have been planting Astelias (native forest flax) and ferns. It is great to see the forest floor greening up again. The Variable Oyster Catchers and Black Backed gulls have laid their eggs. I have planted my tomato plants and the bees are active on the cherry trees.
Have a great week!